Monday Evening Book Club October Selection

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the Training Room on October 1Do Not Say We Have Nothing6 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.

About the book

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China – from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989.  It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai – struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.  Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. (Publisher)

About Madeleine Thien (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

The Cultural Revolution: All you need to know about China’s political convulsion (The Guardian) 

It was the worst of times: China is still in denial about its “spiritual holocaust” (The Economist)

The Great Leap Forward (Chinese posters)

Tiananmen Square, then and now (The Atlantic)

Madeleine Thien: ‘In China you learn a lot from what people don’t tell you’ (The Guardian) 

Madeleine Thien on the writing process behind her prize-winning novel (Banff Centre)

Quill and Quire book review

New York Times book review

 

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club September Selection

kays-lucky-coin-variety-9781501156120_hrThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet in Forsyth Hall on September 11 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi.

About the book…

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young girl, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence.

A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Varietyevocatively portrays the life of a young Korean-Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family. (Publisher)

 

Ann Y.K. Choi immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. She is also a graduate of the Humber School for Writersthe Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and National University’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, was a 2016 Toronto Book Awards finalist and one of CBC Books’ “12 Best Canadian Debut Novels of 2016”.

For over 15 years, Ann has been a teacher with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) working primarily with English language learners, students in Special Education, and students with academic and social-emotional needs. She has served on many committees and groups that address equity issues and student well-being.

As the current chair of the YRDSB Network of Educators for Korean-Canadian Students (NEKS), Ann is committed to providing support for educators who work with students and parents/guardians of Korean-Canadian heritage, as well as to promote opportunities for community building. Ann also serves as a mentor for Arts & Science students at the University of Toronto interested in connecting with alumni established in the Arts industry and is a speaker with Passages Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. (https://annykchoi.com/about/)

Author website

An audio interview & print summary (with CBC’s Shelagh Rogers)

A Gnu Journal interview with Ann Y.K. Choi

Publisher’s Discussion Questions

A Toronto Star book review

A Globe and Mail book review

Yu-Rhee versus Mary: does the name matter? by Ann Y.K. Choi

Ann Y.K. Choi’s essay on getting published

A Global News video clip

A Wikipedia article about the Korean War

Monday Evening Book Club June Selection

Best Kind of peopleThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the Training Room on June 12 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing The Best kind of people by Zoe Whittall.

About the book…

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse. (Publisher)

Zoe Whittall is the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.

A Maisonneuve interview with Zoe Whittall

A CBC Radio interview with Zoe Whittall (with Shelagh Rogers)

Publisher’s discussion questions

A Globe and Mail article

A National Post book review

A Winnipeg Review book review

A CTV News story about an upcoming movie adaptation

A Toronto Star editorial about the Jian Ghomeshi trial

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club May Selection

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the Training Room on May 8 at 7last weynfeldt pm. This month we’re discussing The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter.

About the book

Adrian Weynfeldt is an art expert in an international auction house, a bachelor in his mid-fifties living in a grand Zurich apartment filled with costly paintings and antiques. Always correct and well-mannered, he’s given up on love until one night—entirely out of character for him—Weynfeldt decides to take home a ravishing but unaccountable young woman. The next morning, he finds her outside on his balcony threatening to jump. Weynfeldt talks her down and soon finds himself falling for this damaged but alluring beauty and his buttoned up existence comes unraveled. As their two lives become entangled, Weynfeldt gets embroiled in an art forgery scheme that threatens to destroy everything he and his prominent family have stood for. This refined page-turner moves behind elegant bourgeois facades into darker recesses of the heart. (Publisher)

Martin Suter, born in Zurich in 1948, is a novelist and screenwriter. He has written a dozen novels, many of them bestsellers in Europe and translated into thirty-two languages. Suter lives with his family in Zurich.

Review of The Last Weynfeldt (Gert Loveday’s Fun With Books)

Wikipedia article on Felix Vallotton

Eight of the Biggest Art Forgeries of All Time (Business Insider)

Interview with an art forger (YouTube)

Video of an art auction (Macleans)

 

Monday Evening Book Club April Selection

piano-makerThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the 2nd floor Training Room on April 10th at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka.

About the book

Helene Giroux arrives alone in St. Homais on a winter day. She wears good city clothes and drives an elegant car, and everything she owns is in a small trunk in the back seat. In the local church she finds a fine old piano, a Molnar, and she knows just how fine it is, for her family had manufactured these pianos before the Great War. Then her mother’s death and war forces her to abandon her former life. The story moves back and forth in time as Helene, settling into a simple life, playing the piano for church choir, recalls the extraordinary events that brought her to this place. They include the early loss of her soldier husband and the reappearance of an old suitor who rescues her and her daughter, when she is most desperate; the journeys that very few women of her time could even imagine, into the forests of Indochina in search of ancient treasures and finally, and fatefully, to the Canadian north. When the town policeman confronts her, past and present suddenly converge and she must face an episode that she had thought had been left behind forever. The suspenseful, emotionally resonant, and utterly compelling story of what brings an enigmatic French woman to a small Canadian town in the 1930s, a woman who has found depths of strength in dark times and comes to discover sanctuary at last.
About the author

Kurt Palka was born and educated in Austria. He began his working life in Africa where he wrote for the African Mirror and made wildlife films in Kenya and Tanzania. He has worked on international stories for CTV and GLOBAL TV, wrote for American and Canadian publications such as the Chronicle Herald and the Globe and Mail, and worked as a Senior Producer for the CBC. The Piano Maker is his sixth novel. His previous work includes Clara, which was originally published in hardcover as Patient Number 7, and was a finalist for The Hammett Prize. He lives near Toronto. (adapted from  http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/kurt-palkaand http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/23101/kurt-palka-1 )

A Globe and Mail interview

Publisher’s Reading Guide

A Toronto Star review

A Manitoban review

A Globe and Mail review

A London Free Press review